The First Day Of Fall


I am so thankful that God has placed me in an area where I can enjoy the changing of the seasons.

Today is the first day of autumn. We had temperatures in the upper eighties and lower nineties in the first two weeks of September. Summer was hanging on but the rain came and the temperature dropped. This morning it was 58 degrees when I woke up. So not really cold enough for a roaring fire but candles gave me a warm feeling!

The summer garden is winding down. We still have lima beans, tomatoes and a couple of zuchinni to pick but the fall planting is also coming on. We are anticipating fresh spinach, carrots, radishes,beets and our sweet potato harvest.

This year Olin set up a small farm stand and it was surprisingly successful. We live on a gravel road with little traffic but our neighbors seemed to like the convenience of fresh vegetables in the area. With the arrival of fall the tent has come down and the table put away until next spring.

The pantry shelves display the bounty of summer!

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

I feel as though I am in the “autumn” of my life. I find that my “want to” exceeds my “can do.” Often times I exhaust my energy before I reach the end of my list of chores. Our 50th wedding anniversary and my class reunion pictures remind me of how quickly the time passes.

I am thankful that I know that my “time” is in God’s hand. He knew me before I was born and had a plan for my life. I must admit that He has led me on a path I could never have imagined. I cannot wait to see what He has planned for my future!

O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.

 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising,

Thou understandest my thought afar off.

Thou compassest my path and my lying down,

and art acquainted with all my ways.

 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD,

Thou knowest it altogether.

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me.

 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

 Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?

 If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there:

if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

 Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.

 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me;

even the night shall be light about me.

 Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day:

the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee.

 For Thou hast possessed my reins:

Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

 I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:

marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

 My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret,

and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect;

and in Thy book all my members were written,

which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

 How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God!

how great is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand:

when I awake, I am still with Thee.

Surely Thou wilt slay the wicked, O God:

depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.

For they speak against Thee wickedly,

and Thine enemies take Thy name in vain.

Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee?

and am not I grieved with those that rise up against Thee?

I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139
King James Version

The Saga Continues . . .

Monday night the trap was set . . .

The camera was in place . . .

There appeared to be quite a gathering. They must have heard about the free marshmallows!

The next morning we discovered the trap had been compromised so they ate the treats but we caught nothing. At least the chickens were still safe.

With the trap repaired we set it again last night.

SUCCESS!!!

But we know there are many more so the trap will be set again because . . .

Olin went to town and came home with three more chickens!

This is life in the country.

Chicken Tragedy

Last Monday we had a flock of seven – six hens and a Bantam rooster.

He is like Little Jimmy Dickens – he’s little but he’s loud!

He is master of his flock, taking very good care of his girls.

Until tragedy struck in the chicken house!

One morning Olin discovered that a raccoon had gotten into the chicken barn and killed two hens.

On Saturday when we returned from shopping he discovered two more hens killed.

And on Sunday morning there was another. ††

So we begin this week with just one hen and the little Bantam rooster.

Both very traumatized.

Something must be done.

A trap set with marshmallows.

The first day we caught a barn cat.

Now she is traumatized!

But finally – success . . .

He was not a happy camper.

He was transported to the pasture where there the sentence was to be carried out. Unfortunately the prisoner escaped and is expected to make another raid on the chicken house tonight. There the trap is once again baited with marshmallows and hopefully he will once again fall victim to temptation and take the bait!

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

My Forever Friend

It has been a year since Olin and I traveled to Sedalia, Missouri to honor a lady very dear to us.

I find myself thinking of her at the oddest moments. She holds a very special place in my heart.

Margaret Paul lived an amazing life. She loved people. Give her ten minutes in a room full of strangers and they would be strangers no longer. She would gather them around a table and start the conversation or maybe a game of Mexican Train!

I first met Ms. Margaret in the Cowgill’s Corner Homemakers Club. I was a young mother and she was an older lady. (When you are in your twenties everyone over thirty seems old.) She was full of stories and she could always make us laugh. In time I gave up the club and lost track of Ms. Margaret.

Almost thirty years later I became a pastor serving a three-point charge with the United Methodist Church and discovered Ms. Margaret in the congregation. She became a very special friend. I could trust Ms. Margaret to tell me the truth – even when I didn’t want to hear it. She kept me out of trouble by giving me a nudge when I needed one and by letting me know when I was headed down the wrong road. I was privileged to serve as her pastor for twelve years. But our relationship didn’t end when I left the pulpit.

In July 2011 we made our first trip to Missouri. Since Ms. Margaret had friends and family there we invited her to travel with us. The plan was to drop her off at her various destinations while we explored the area. That wasn’t Ms. Margaret’s plan.

Our first stop was at her daughter Jane’s to drop off her dog, Mica. Of course, we had to have a piece of Jane’s blackberry pie before we left. And then, since we were going right by their cabin at Deep Creek, they invited us to spend our first night there.

When we arrived in Columbia we met Margaret’s sister and her family. We were invited for dinner where we heard lots of stories about her life in Columbia.

After a few days it was on to Maryville, where we met more family. And more food. And more stories.

Our next stop was Sedalia and a visit to Pleasant Hill UMC. More friends, more food, and more stories!

After three weeks we headed east with Ms. Margaret riding “shotgun.” I knew that we had become family when Ms. Margaret and my husband had a “discussion” regarding fueling the vehicle. She noticed a lower price and suggested it would be good to top off the tank. My husband liked to wait until the tank was lower. When he finally stopped for fuel the price was higher than what Ms. Margaret had seen. She let him know that she wasn’t paying for the gas to which he replied that he hadn’t asked her to pay. I remarked that it was time to head for home!

After we made the move to Missouri Ms. Margaret came for several visits and we had such fun. She loved playing with Ms. Pepper and riding through the woods on the Gator. We could talk about anything and everything as we sat on the front porch snipping green beans or shelling lima beans. The almost thirty years between us didn’t matter. We are kindred spirits!

Rhonda Vincent wrote a song about a woman who loses her husband of sixty years. It is called “I Will See You Again.” When I hear the song I think of Ms. Margaret.

I Will See You Again

Rhonda Vincent

It was a gathering of some 300 people
In the little church the crowd began to swell
Quite a send off for a simple country farmer
For many loved and knew the old man well

And as his bride of 60 years came forward
She bravely walked to where his body lay
A hush fell over all that stood around her
She smiled through tears as she began to say

I will see you again
For this isn’t the end
You’re my forever friend
And I will see you again

Ever since a simple carpenter from Nazareth
Walked the mountains and the shores of Galilee
Ever since he died and rose again on Easter
Death doesn’t have the same old victory

Tonight I’ll lay my head upon his pillow
And cry until the breaking of the day
But even in the pain of separation
There’s a hope inside my heart that lets me say

I will see you again
For this isn’t the end
You’re my forever friend
And I will see you again

Jesus, He made a way
There is coming a day
So I will hold on ’til then
And I will see you again

I will hold on ’til then
And I will see you…again

Ms. Margaret is my “forever friend” and I am glad that I will see her again one day and we can spend eternity catching up.

Fifty Years Later!

June 14, 2019 – Today we mark fifty years in our life together. It has been an amazing journey!

I have always wanted to take a steamboat cruise down the Mississippi River. It seemed a nice way to celebrate 50 years of marriage.

That was the dream.

The reality is that we spent the morning scrubbing the yucky stuff off of the north side of our house!

But we worked together to get it done. Olin made me my own “bucket truck” by putting a pallet on the forks on the John Deere and attaching a galvanized tub for me to stand in as he lifted me up in the air. (I don’t think he trusted me to lift him up!) But in all fairness he did climb a ladder to join me on the roof of the back porch to help me scrub.

My Anniversary Present!

My husband is good at giving presents. He gives me things I want. This is the pump that I use to transfer water from our storage tanks to the tank in the garden. It was sitting on a pallet that I had to move every time I mowed the lawn. I did it but it took a lot of tugging and pulling every week. I mentioned to him the difficulty I was having and he made me this cart that i can wheel anywhere that i need it. I love it!

God has blessed us with amazing memories. Too many for me to recount on this blog so I’ll share some special memories over the past fifty years.

Disobedience

My last posting was on March the 6th, Ash Wednesday, when I wrote these words:

If we believe that God is Who He says He is and the God will do what He says He will do then we must live it out. The Bible says that all have sinned, therefore all are called to repentance. Will you humble yourself on this day of repentance and fall before the LORD and confess your sin and repent? Or will you listen to Satan’s lies and stand on your own?

Since that day I have been like Jonah, running in the opposite direction from where God was calling me to go. Today’s devotional reading challenged me and I share it with you along with my journal entry for this day.

 

“And the ill favored and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well favored and fat kine . . .

 and the thin ears swallowed up the seven rank and full ears.”   

Genesis 41:4,7

There is a warning for us in that dream, just as it stands;It is possible for the best years of our life, the best experiences,the best victories won, the best service rendered, to be swallowed up by the times of failure, defeat, dishonor, uselessness in the kingdom. Some men’s lives of rare promise and rare achievement have ended so. It is awful to think of, but it is true. Yet it is never necessary.

S. D. Gordon has said that the only assurance of safety against this tragedy is “fresh touch with God,” daily, hourly. The blessed, fruitful, victorious experiences of yesterday are of no value to me today, but they will actually be eaten up or reversed by today’s failures,  unless they serve as incentives to still better, richer experiences today. 

“Fresh touch with God,” by abiding in Christ, alone will keep the lean kine and the ill-favored grain out of my life.                                     

-Messages for the Morning Watch.

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Today’s devotional reading from Streams In The Desert was short and to the point – and very much needed. Lord, I am so very far from You today. Not because You left me but because I have refused to follow where You are leading. I haven’t rebelled outright but rather, I have dragged my feet, made excuses, and procrastinated. But in the end it arrives at the same result.

I have not done what You have asked me to do.

I have often asked You to use me however You choose but instead of obeying I have made excuses, substituted my own plans for Yours, and the end is disobedience, however I try to spin it.

Forgive me, Lord. Like Jonah I have run in the opposite direction. I am sorry.

I do not want to be here in this situation.

I need You.

I cannot live apart from You.

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These photos were taken on our cross country trip.The landscape was dry and dusty.

That is my life apart from God – dry and dusty –

The good news is that I don’t have to live this way.

I can choose God’s way – not my own.

God is near, with springs of living water!

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Ash Wednesday

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Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand;

A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.

 

Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lordyour God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:

Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.

Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season in the church. Ashes have long been a symbol of sorrow and repentance in scripture. When Job was afflicted he sat among the ashes scraping at his sores with a broken piece of pottery.

And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. 

Job 2: 8

When the king gave an order to attack the Jews the people mourned in the ashes.

And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.                                                                                            Esther 4:3

 

Somehow in our culture we have lost the concept of sorrow for sin and repentance of sin. We only have to look at our advertising slogans.

“If it feels good, do it.”

“I’m worth it.”

“Just do it.”

I apologize if these are old to you but we gave up watching television last year for Lent and discovered we could live without it. So I am not up to date on the newest advertising slogans. But you get the picture. We are encouraged to live for self. Guilt is considered a bad thing. Guilt that cripples is not good but guilt that calls us to make a change is good.

The world today doesn’t want to talk about sin. They don’t accept God’s standards. Truth is not an absolute but whatever you deem the truth to be. That is a lie from Satan.

If we believe that God is Who He says He is and the God will do what He says He will do then we must live it out. The Bible says that all have sinned, therefore all are called to repentance. Will you humble yourself on this day of repentance and fall before the LORD and confess your sin and repent? Or will you listen to Satan’s lies and stand on your own?

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It is not a smudge of ashes on the forehead that makes the difference.

It is the condition of your heart that matters.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:

a broken and a contrite heart, O God,

thou wilt not despise.

Psalm 51:17

 

 

 

We Survived January In Missouri!

 

The month of January was crazy!

We had warmer than normal weather.

We had colder than normal weather.

We had mud.

We had ice.

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Our country road is beautiful in the snow but the weather warmed up and the snow melted and we had a muddy mess. Then the temperature dropped and we had an icy mess!

 

And any outdoor activity is followed by a huddle around the woodstove to warm those cold extremities! Gloves, boots, and insulated coveralls help but when it is minus 20 degrees with a wind chill reading of minus 30 degrees – you don’t last long outdoors.

 

Planning for spring helps me endure this winter weather. I am looking forward to getting back out into the garden.

But for now we have to navigate February.

It isn’t a very promising beginning. We are experiencing an ice storm. Everything is coated with a layer of ice. It is really beautiful but very dangerous.

My husband resorted to crawling on his hands and knees for part of the morning chores. He didn’t want to risk a fall and the animals had to have food and water.

In spite of the weather we are enjoying life on this country road!

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A Snowy Day In Missouri

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We woke up to a snow covered landscape this morning.

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It made morning chores interesting.

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Getting the kennel gate open for the dogs afternoon run was a challenge.

There will be lots of shoveling tomorrow!

 

But the dogs love the snow. It is a joy to watch them play in it.

 

The garden has almost disappeared!

My garden angel is keeping watch.

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The Epiphany of the Lord

scenic view of mountains against sky at night
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.

Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.

Isaiah 60:1-6

 

We have celebrated Christmas with the manger, the angels, the shepherds and the star. We have read the story in the Gospel of Luke.

 

Today we read the story from the Gospel of Matthew. How wise men came from the east to worship. Upon seeing the child, they fell down and worshiped, and presented gifts of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

What will you give Him?

Will you worship?